Millions of patients with diabetes will be saying goodbye to daily shots now that the FDA has approved the first inhaled version of insulin.
It's called "Exubera" and it's short acting insulin taken at mealtimes. This provides adult patients with the first new way to deliver insulin since it was discovered in the 1920's.
"You take a little blister pack which has the insulin in it which you then stick in the slot here. That breaks the blister pack. The insulin enters in here and then you go here and you breathe it," says Jay Slyker, M.D., with the Diabetes Research Institute.
The FDA says patient may still need injections on occasion and it is not recommended for smokers or people with asthma. Also, patients will need to continue to prick their fingers to test for blood sugars. But what a breakthrough, to be able to trade most, or all, of your shots for an inhaler.
Side effects include coughing and decreased lung function. Peak insulin levels were reached faster with patients on Exubera compared to injected insulin. 5 million diabetics inject insulin nationwide, some will still have to inject themselves (those with type one diabetes and some type two diabetes patients). Some patients were studied up to seven years.
Every six months, patients on the inhaled insulin will have to get a pulmonary function test.